As 2023 comes to a close, we are looking back on some of the biggest news stories which have taken place this year.

Here, we are looking at what happened in the fourth quarter of the year between July and September in the last part of this four-part review. 


On October 2, a lightning strike caused a huge gas explosion at Severn Trent Green Power waste plant in Cassington with fire crews tackling the blaze throughout the night.

Emergency services rushed to the scene with 40 fire and rescue personnel tackling the blaze at the height of the fire, which could be seen from surrounding villages.

Oxford Mail:

The explosion was seen by householders across Oxford who took to social media to express their astonishment at the sky being lit up.

Aerial footage from a drone showed the full extent of the damage caused to three of the five tanks used to process food waste at the plant.

Oxford Mail: Drone images show the damage to the Severn Trent Green Power plant near Cassington Picture: SWNS

Controversial plans for almost 500 homes in Kidlington received the green light on October 5.

Cherwell district councillors voted to approve 370 homes off Bicester Road, to the east of the village, and 118 homes off Oxford Road, further south towards Kidlington Roundabout.

Oxford Mail: The Triangle’ was agreed to be leased by Oxfordshire County Council to Oxford United for its new

On October 10, protesters poured paint over Oxford’s iconic Radcliffe Camera to show their opposition to fossil fuels as part of a student stunt.

Police responded to reports shortly after noon, when a 21-year-old University of Oxford student and18-year-old man from Norwich, both representing the Just Stop Oil organisation, were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage

Oxford Mail: Just Stop Oil protester Noah Crane

A member of staff at St Edwards School died near the boathouse on Port Meadow on October 11.

Emergency services, including the Thames Air Ambulance helicopter, scrambled to the common after reports of the medical emergency.

The death was not treated as suspicious by police.

Oxford Mail:

On October 12, hundreds took to the streets in Oxford city centre in support of Palestine with drumming, chanting and impassioned speeches.

Around 300 people gathered in Cornmarket last night as Israel continued its attacks on the Hamas group which controls the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

Oxford Mail:

It was decided on October 17 low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) would be made permanent in East Oxford.

The controversial traffic calming measures, which have been trialled since May 2022, will be continued in Divinity Road, St Mary’s and St Clement’s.

Hundreds of protestors gathered outside County Hall before the decision, and many also attended the meeting, with security guards forced to limit numbers when the room became full.

Oxford Mail:

On October 21, armed police officers with riot shields were called to reports of an axe attack on Magdalen Road.

Roger Felton, 54, of Magdalen Road, was charged after a man in his 40s was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Oxford Mail: Police arrest a man on Magdalen Road

Then a manhunt was launched on October 22, after a kidnapping victim was attacked and bundled into the back seat of a vehicle.

Detectives have said that the man – whose identity was not revealed – was pushed into the back of a grey vehicle after being assaulted by another man in Between Towns Road, Cowley.

Meanwhile, a high-speed police chase ended in a horror crash injuring six children on October 24 in Headington.

The youths were hurt at around 11.15pm when a BMW  crashed along The Slade.

Five teenagers were arrested and officers referred themselves to the police watchdog.

Oxford Mail: Multiple emergency service vehicles were in attendance at the site of the crash

On October 28, a man was arrested on suspicion of carrying out a rape attack in the grounds of the Minster Lovell Hall ruins.

A woman in her 30s was said to have been raped beside one of the ruined walls in the Minster Lovell Hall grounds, in West Oxfordshire.

The 35-year-old man from Witney was arrested on suspicion of rape and was released on police bail until January 24.

Towards the end of October two alleged anti-Muslim attacks in the space of a week led a city mosque to ramp up safety precautions amid rising tensions.

A petrol can scrawled with the letters ‘IDF’ – the initials of the Israeli Defence Forces – was thrown over a wall at the Central Oxford Mosque in Manzil Way on October 28.

Oxford Mail:

While the petrol can was empty and no one was hurt, police described the incident as a hate crime and appealed for witnesses.

The force said the writing on the can “may be related to the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza”.

And, Labour has lost its majority of Oxford City Council after a ninth councillor resigned from the party.

The resignations were due to Labour's stance on the war in Gaza as it was said Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer should call for a ceasefire.

A total of 10 councillors have now resigned from Labour on the council.


Two serious cycle crashes in a week raised fresh concerns about road safety for those who travel in the city on bike.

On November 1, a cyclist was involved in a crash with a car at one of the city’s busiest roundabouts and emergency services were called to The Plain.

This came a week after, Alison Hill, chairwoman of the Cyclox campaign group, was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries after a crash with a coach in the city centre.

Oxford Mail:

On November 8, Oxford United boss Liam Manning left for Bristol City and eight days later on November 16 Des Buckingham was announced as the new man to take over at the Kassam Stadium.

Oxford Mail: New Oxford United head coach Des Buckingham

His Majesty King Charles III visited the county on November 14.

The King's helicopter landed on the field at Aureus School just after 12 where he was greeted by enthusiastic staff and "very wet" but excited students before heading off to carry out royal duties in Didcot.

The royal couple then visited the South Oxfordshire Food and Education Alliance (SOFEA) surplus food distribution centre in Didcot to kick-start the King's Coronation Food Project, which aims to bridge the gap between food waste and food needs across all four nations of the United Kingdom.

Oxford Mail: Charles and Camilla at the South Oxfordshire Food and Education Alliance (SOFEA) surplus food

On November 17, a lorry driver was found not guilty of killing a cyclist by careless driving during rush hour traffic near Oxford Parkway railway station.

Oxford University academic administrator El Len Tham, also known as Ellen Moilanen, was riding her pedal bike in the bus and cycle lane when she was fatally killed after a crash with the lorry.

James Lindsay drove into the 44-year-old during the morning of February 8 last year as he entered a shared cycle, bus, and taxi lane outside the railway station.

Oxford Mail: Floral tributes left at the scene on Oxford Road, Kidlington Inset: James Lindsay outside Oxford

On November 19, police responded to an allegation of rape that is said to have occurred at St Clement’s Church in Marston Road in the early hours.

Police said a 20-year-old woman was approached by a man who allegedly took her into the churchyard and assaulted her.

Khaliz Ali Alshimery, aged 46, of Grenoble Road, has been charged with one count of rape of a woman over 16, one count of sexual assault and one count of assault by penetration on November 21.

Oxford Mail: Churchyard at St Clement's Church when the incident allegedly took place

On November 24 armed police, sniffer dogs, helicopters, river search boats, fire engines and ambulances were deployed in the morning to Waitrose in Botley Road.

Detectives leading the case remained silent on the circumstances surrounding the deployment, except to confirm it was related to a “fear for welfare” incident.

Oxford Mail:

Four days later police stormed a city centre bank amid fears staff were being threatened with a gun.

Panicked reports of a raid on HSBC on Cornmarket Street, Oxford, sparked a huge police response and evacuation of the branch just after 10am.

The gun turned out to be an imitation firearm.

And, November saw Oxford Brookes staff left “devastated and in shock” after the university announced the forthcoming closure of its music and maths departments.

This means there will be a staggered exit of staff members before final closure when all students have graduated. 


On December 4, construction work paused on the £700 million Oxford North development site after a worker fell to his death.

Oxford Mail: Ambulance crews were unable to save the man.

Ambulance crews were unable to save the man in his 40s from the serious injuries he suffered as a result of the fall.

Oxford North is a major development on land near the A34, A40 and A44 whose developers set out with the aim to “replicate Silicon Valley”.

It is not known when work on the £700 million project will resume following the death of the man on site.

On December 9, a man was arrested on suspicion of murder after 63-year-old Janne Goble was found dead in a quiet residential street in Oxford.

Oxford Mail: Janne Goble, 63, was found dead at an address in Headington on November 22

A death notice published by the Oxford Mail described her as a “beloved partner” and an “adored grandma”

The suspect, 65, was also arrested on suspicion of causing or allowing death or serious injury to a vulnerable adult.